One more morning in Maine

…ok I didn’t forget – in fact, I think to myself almost hourly “now, there’s a thought for the blog”. WordPress needs an app-like feature for those of us hopping in and out of wifi range. So, now I’m about five days behind in documenting the Grand Adventure. In my defense, I’ve written several Yelp reviews, instagram captions, and text messages, so I’m obeying my birthday resolution to “write every day”. Anyway, I digress.

The last day of the Grand Adventure: Maine dawned cool and cloudy. It was a travel day for Best Friend and I – headed to Canada that afternoon! In the morning, she had some work to catch up on, so I headed out on foot to see what’s shaking on a Sunday morning in Portland. Turns out, it’s a lot – temporarily free of the heat wave, but with highs projected to reach 90 again, the Eastern Promenade was in full effect. I walked up the hill to get coffee (Hilltop, I miss you already), and saw, in no particular order: yoga, dog walking, basketball, little league, soccer, and countless joggers. Rain moved in briefly, but did not interrupt the exercise rituals happening all through the park.

For myself, I walked up to Hilltop, got another excellent cup of Jamaican coffee, and took my ham and brie sandwich to go. With the sun peeking through, I sat down on a dry-ish bench to enjoy a final look at the mist rising off the bay. If I had this view, I would be late to work every single day. I could not move off the bench until the sailboats were in full view and my coffee cup long empty. Dang, Maine. I’ll have to try a sunrise trek down to the lakeshore back home and see if I see a similar effect.

Back up at the apartment, Best Friend was done working, so we headed out for breakfast. It being Sunday morning, everywhere had a wait so we would up at the strangely empty “Lolita Venoteca”. Empty to the point that the staff seemed surprised to see us. We sat outside and enjoyed an array of breakfast tapas (fantastic coffee, medium food). Before heading back to get packed up – Sunday was ferry day!

We scurried around getting the apartment ready for check out and hopped in an Uber to the ferry terminal (so close! If it hadn’t been so hot, we could have walked it). We got to the terminal and sat. And sat. The CAT ferry is newly back in commission after several years hiatus (US vs Canada in: “Who Pays For This Boat, Eh?!”). With one crossing per day, we arrived early so there could be no mistake…on this day, we needn’t have bothered. It turns out, there was a customs hold on an entering passenger, which delayed boarding by over an hour. An hour spent in a hot, airless holding space. Where the vending machine was out of everything except Diet Pepsi. Ugh.

Eventually we were shuttled to the boat and boarded – and instantly all was forgiven. I love ferries. Every since Scotland pushed my perspective on what this can be, I would prefer to travel by ferry everywhere. Huge plushy couches for resting. Movies on screens. Scallops for dinner. Ice cream. A little travel desk to ask your random questions about Canadian travel. Plus, an outside area where you can go if you are brave (more on that in a sec). I loved every second of this crossing. Not the least because the “factoid” presented by our captain was that we had made our crossing in record time. 4.5 hours! Considering that it wasn’t too long ago that the same crossing took nearly 22 hours, I think we were all suitably impressed. Best Friend worked some and napped some. I read some and explored the boat – which prior to its current incarnation, was a Hawaiian cruise ship and a hospital ship after the Haitian earthquake. All of the signage still says “Mahalo”.

We arrived in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia around 10pm, in a flat calm and a thick fog. The fog horn had been going throughout the final 30 minutes of the voyage. When they led us all down to the “disembarkation” area, the fog was rolling in and filling the hold. Everyone was quiet, as we waited for the dock to be lowered. We crossed, passed through customs and were on our way! We were fortunate that our cab was still able to pick us up, despite arriving hours later than planned. George, of A to B Taxi service, drove us the 24km to Argyle, while sharing fishing stories (some funny, some vague “you’d have to be there – to know how it could be in winter…I’ve seen some things) and navigating the fog with ease.

We arrived at Ye Olde Argyler Lodge – the next adventure about to begin!

IMG_9079 Lovely, lovely Promenade, with sunlight peeking through.

The sailboat stayed alongside for an impressive length of time. These two lighthouses were the final farewell from the States before they were lost to view.

Me on the outside deck of the ferry ^

  1. Hell no, this is nuts! (Back pressed against the wall, instantly dizzy and unable to move).
  2. 3 ish minutes later. Ok, maybe can peel self off wall and take two steps so that can take better pictures.
  3. Tentatively approach rail and place one hand. Still on ship. Possibly this is not so bad.

Am now mesmerized and spend 30 minutes taking 1 million pictures of sunset, water, spray, and generally enjoying the view. Success!

IMG_9098 (1)Waiting to leave the boat, looking out into the foggy, silent darkness.

IMG_9100 (2)Why is Canadian money so pretty? And clear in parts? Dang, y’all.

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Sweet Summer Time

I always go into summer thinking it’s going to be quiet and chill. I am not actually sure WHY I think that – I think the only quiet and chill summer I had was the summer of 2006, when I interned 4 hours per day and slept the rest (no joke, coming out of my first year of teaching, I was catching up on ten months of exhaustion) Otherwise I spend my summers working at TFA Institute, or moving across the country. This summer, I have done neither, but work and life have certainly cooperated to fill every spare moment!

Lots of gardening is happening, despite the miserable drought Wisconsin has suffered. Seriously, it rained for about 45 seconds yesterday, and I couldn’t even continue the conversation I was having. The peppers did not survive (something ate them to the ground, but the tomatoes and petunias are doing nicely. I have 9 tomato plants, divided between slicing and paste, and I think I will take up canning as a new hobby this fall – can’t stand to see a single one go to waste!

These little guys are hanging out in the shade and doing ok despite the heat and the dry. I have been informed that they are usually houseplants, so I’ll bring some in in the winter.

Family time has been amazing this summer – it’s so nice to be a short drive away from so many people.  Birthday parties to baseball games, it’s been wonderful to reconnect with my people!

I love this picture – the tiniest person and the bestest Papa 🙂

Cousins bonding over sunglasses – two handsome guys!

Cory keeping his eye on the ball.

Outfield is somewhat boring, however 😉

Brunch is on a summer hiatus – my little window a/c can’t really cope with the epic production heat, or the crowds, but the last one I threw, in May was a lot of fun – pancakes on the porch, enjoying the early summer breezes. Until the end of my days, I will live somewhere that allows me to sit outside.

The result! Chocolate chip, blueberry, and “plain” pancakes, bacon, eggs, and the requisite bowl of berries. Yum!

Using the last of my eggs from the Tinants – well traveled, and completely delicious 🙂


Best of all, Milwaukee has proven itself to be a truly excellent city to explore this summer! From custard, to Summerfest, to farmer’s markets, to the South Shore Frolics (this weekend!) there is always something great to do, something amazing to eat, and some excellent music playing.  In Wisconsin, we never quite forget that a long, hard winter is right around the corner, so we get out there and soak up every sunny moment!

Rarely the winner, but always our favorite – wearing number 5 – Chorizo!


We managed to get photos with every racing sausage that day, a minor miracle on a Saturday afternoon!


Taken inside the Northern Chocolate Co – right before I got yelled at for taking pictures…oops!


Lake Michigan in the morning


City Hall is amazing inside! This was also the tallest building in North America at one time.


Going here now! Kopp’s has nothing on this classic 🙂